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Reactionary Radio


Perhaps it is an example of Yin and Yang chasing each other around the wheel of life. Those who successfully speak truth to power become power. What was once novel and avant-garde is accepted as status quo.

Cobb spews a bit about NPR’s evolution toward irrelevance:

By the time NPR fired Juan Williams, I was too through with them and really expected nothing more. But you can't stay mad forever. So I have found myself turning back, begrudgingly. It's rather a different beast. Now there are commercials all the time, and there are a bunch of names I don't recognize reporting, only showing how strange it is to realize that NPR is essentially about 30 people. And even what they do is getting, well. How can I say it? NPR just can't compete with some really good podcasts - they just don't geek out enough. NPR is about flavor and style. It's not cutting edge anything. It's just like HBO. I don't mean to say that it has the amoral in-your-face-ness that was HBO when I stopped watching several years ago, but that it has become something of a parody of itself having become predictable and no longer being the best at what they do.

Somewhere—probably via Robert Anton Wilson—I recall a theory that information is that which you cannot predict.

If you know what is coming, you knew what was coming. And that’s just noise, adding nothing of value.

To an economist, though, comfortable predictibility has a value. It’s just not the value that NPR and it’s notoriously SWPL listeners want to believe they’re getting.

As Cobb points out, the real information, the more challenging reporting and analysis can be had for nothing thanks to the intertracks and cheap electronics used to create content.

But the worst part of it is that during pledge drive time, they can't even honestly say that NPR gives you insightful news and information that you can't get anywhere else. I can get better, much better. For free. With video. On demand.  And not from the same people I've been listening to for 20 years, or the snarky new yahoos that are replacing them.

What is called “public radio” serves but a niche of the public. And they’re not even who they think they are. The house style at NPR is as soothing as William F. Buckley’s favorite leather recliner. No matter how they fancy themselves, NPR, like so much of what used to be progressive, is a bastion of conservatism.